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How to Make a Blog Post Go Viral

How to Make a Blog Post Go Viral

Writing blog posts are a beneficial way for a single person, business, or organization to gain exposure. Usually there is a certain goal in mind when choosing to start blogging, such as raising awareness, generating sales, or becoming a branding platform. Consistent, unique, and informative blog posts can help with accomplishing those goals when done the right way.

Getting your blog post to go viral is not always possible, but there are some general guidelines that can help increase your chances. Blogs have become as important to the Internet as any other information gathering platform online. While it’s true that blogs are a beneficial resource, some are wondering, “How do I cull an audience and ensure people are reading my posts?” After all, who wants to write for an empty room?

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So the question is, “How do I make my blog go viral?” That’s a good question, and I’ve got some good answers.

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Consider This Question Before You Even Begin Writing

Is the blog topic I’m choosing viral worthy?

  • Choosing a viral worthy blog topic means choosing a topic that isn’t covered too frequently. There’s a slim chance a blog post will go viral if it’s only filled with information that’s been seen numerous times. If you do decide to cover a popular topic, it’s your job to make it fresh for your readers. Otherwise, why would they read your blog when there are 10 more posts just like it? Take the topic and show it in a light it has never been shown in before. This could be tricky if you’re writing for a niche audience, but doing the proper research or performing case studies could help make your post unique. Research will aid in providing you with useful content, such as statistics. It’s a good idea to include a piece of that research in the title. A shocking statistic will get your audience to open the post, and the content will make them want to share it.
  • Do it Better: If your topic is well-known and widely written about, find a hole in the available information and fill it. Finding the most shared content is easy with sites like BuzzSumo.com and Ahrefs.com’s content explorer.
  • Be Relatable: It is important for your readers to feel as though you understand them and the topic. This audience is following your blog for a reason. Make sure you’re staying true to why they started following you in the first place. For example, if your blog is about technology, stay up to date with the latest technology news and information, but also share your opinions and encourage them to share theirs. Honesty and transparency will make your readers feel connected, and they will return because of that connection. Assuming some of the people in the readers’ lives may have similar interests and feelings, they could then share with them.

This may seem obvious, but not everyone is doing it. If they were, every blog would be viral. This first question is worth considering. Without fresh, useful information and a connected audience, your blog will not be successful for long.

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Consider These Questions When Publishing the Blog Post

Are you sharing and promoting your blog properly?

  • If you, your business, or organization has a Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, or any other forms of social media, you should share the blog on those outlets. The followers you have on those outlets are a good start for the blog’s exposure. Once you’ve got a captive audience, you only need to put out great content in order to go viral—easy right?
  • If your blog post has high resolution photos, which it definitely should, it’s important to make sure they’re compatible with the social media outlets you decide to use. Examples include Instagram and Pinterest. Try to use one of the main photos from your blog on Instagram and then place the link in the caption. When it comes to Pinterest, make sure the photo you choose is visually pleasing. Pinterest is most popular for image viewing. If the image is attractive, users will be more likely to click on the photo that leads to the blog post.
  • Twitter is another outlet to be thinking about. With a limited amount of characters allowed, you want to be smart about what you choose to write in front of the blog link. A good idea is to grab an interesting quote from the blog post that will be intriguing for your followers. A little sneak peak of what the blog has to offer could help attract your followers, who could possibly even retweet it. Using a hashtag that relates to the topic is also helpful. People who typically view that hashtag for updates on that topic will have better access to it.
  • Share your posts with your network. Whether they are fellow bloggers, your mentor, or your kids, if what you have to offer is beneficial to them or their network they will be happy to share it. Remember to return the favor. Good sharing karma is important. You can’t expect your network to share and endorse your work without reciprocation.
  • Reach out to relevant organizations or businesses that may relate to your post. An email pitch introducing yourself and why your post is relevant for their followers could encourage them to share it on their social media accounts. You can even give them a mention in the blog post before reaching out to them.

Is your blog SEO friendly?

  • If people are purposely going to a search engine to learn about the topic your blog is written about, you want to make sure that your blog has a chance of being seen. Be sure to use headings. Headings help to inform Google of the main topic of the post. Subheadings are beneficial for the readers. They allow readers to skim the blog post and choose which sections interest them most.
  • Do some keyword research. Using specific keywords that have high search volume within your blog post will help your blog appear when those keywords are searched. There are a number of keyword research tools that can help. Google’s Keyword Planner is one of the most popular and easy to use.  Knowing which keywords readers are searching for will help to shape your content, header tags, and title tags. Your blog won’t be going viral if it can’t be found. Further SEO consultation could help to ensure your blogs are always SEO friendly.

When writing a blog post that you hope will go viral, consider asking yourself the questions above. Depending on the quality of the post, it could go viral without having to use everything listed, but try including everything for the best results. You might as well give all these ideas a shot. You never know, maybe something you create will eventually be seen by millions. If and when it reaches that point, it’s in your best interest to follow some guidelines. The site Always Found states the most important guidelines are “be ready, stay on brand, and take context into account.” These guidelines can apply to both attempted viral marketing and unexpected viral marketing. Either way, it’s important to take advantage of the moment.

Featured photo credit: https://www.pexels.com/ via pexels.com

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Published on May 18, 2021

How To Improve Listening Skills For Effective Workplace Communication

How To Improve Listening Skills For Effective Workplace Communication

We have two ears and one mouth for a reason—effective communication is dependent on using them in proportion, and this involves having good listening skills.

The workplace of the 21st century may not look the same as it did before COVID-19 spread throughout the world like wildfire, but that doesn’t mean you can relax your standards at work. If anything, Zoom meetings, conference calls, and the continuous time spent behind a screen have created a higher level of expectations for meeting etiquette and communication. And this goes further than simply muting your microphone during a meeting.

Effective workplace communication has been a topic of discussion for decades, yet, it is rarely addressed or implemented due to a lack of awareness and personal ownership by all parties.

Effective communication isn’t just about speaking clearly or finding the appropriate choice of words. It starts with intentional listening and being present. Here’s how to improve your listening skills for effective workplace communication.

Listen to Understand, Not to Speak

There are stark differences between listening and hearing. Listening involves intention, focused effort, and concentration, whereas hearing simply involves low-level awareness that someone else is speaking. Listening is a voluntary activity that allows one to be present and in the moment while hearing is passive and effortless.[1]

Which one would you prefer your colleagues to implement during your company-wide presentation? It’s a no-brainer.

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Listening can be one of the most powerful tools in your communication arsenal because one must listen to understand the message being told to them. As a result of this deeper understanding, communication can be streamlined because there is a higher level of comprehension that will facilitate practical follow-up questions, conversations, and problem-solving. And just because you heard something doesn’t mean you actually understood it.

We take this for granted daily, but that doesn’t mean we can use that as an excuse.

Your brain is constantly scanning your environment for threats, opportunities, and situations to advance your ability to promote your survival. And yet, while we are long past the days of worrying about being eaten by wildlife, the neurocircuitry responsible for these mechanisms is still hard-wired into our psychology and neural processing.

A classic example of this is the formation of memories. Case in point: where were you on June 3rd, 2014? For most of you reading this article, your mind will go completely blank, which isn’t necessarily bad.

The brain is far too efficient to retain every detail about every event that happens in your life, mainly because many events that occur aren’t always that important. The brain doesn’t—and shouldn’t—care what you ate for lunch three weeks ago or what color shirt you wore golfing last month. But for those of you who remember where you were on June 3rd, 2014, this date probably holds some sort of significance to you. Maybe it was a birthday or an anniversary. Perhaps it was the day your child was born. It could have even been a day where you lost someone special in your life.

Regardless of the circumstance, the brain is highly stimulated through emotion and engagement, which is why memories are usually stored in these situations. When the brain’s emotional centers become activated, the brain is far more likely to remember an event.[2] And this is also true when intention and focus are applied to listening to a conversation.

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Utilizing these hard-wired primitive pathways of survival to optimize your communication in the workplace is a no-brainer—literally and figuratively.

Intentional focus and concentrated efforts will pay off in the long run because you will retain more information and have an easier time recalling it down the road, making you look like a superstar in front of your colleagues and co-workers. Time to kiss those note-taking days away!

Effective Communication Isn’t Always Through Words

While we typically associate communication with words and verbal affirmations, communication can come in all shapes and forms. In the Zoom meeting era we live in, it has become far more challenging to utilize and understand these other forms of language. And this is because they are typically easier to see when we are sitting face to face with the person we speak to.[3]

Body language can play a significant role in how our words and communication are interpreted, especially when there is a disconnection involved.[4] When someone tells you one thing, yet their body language screams something completely different, it’s challenging to let that go. Our brain immediately starts to search for more information and inevitably prompts us to follow up with questions that will provide greater clarity to the situation at hand. And in all reality, not saying something might be just as important as actually saying something.

These commonly overlooked non-verbal communication choices can provide a plethora of information about the intentions, emotions, and motivations. We do this unconsciously, and it happens with every confrontation, conversation, and interaction we engage in. The magic lies in the utilization and active interpretation of these signals to improve your listening skills and your communication skills.

Our brains were designed for interpreting our world, which is why we are so good at recognizing subtle nuances and underlying disconnect within our casual encounters. So, when we begin to notice conflicting messages between verbal and non-verbal communication, our brain takes us down a path of troubleshooting.

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Which messages are consistent with this theme over time? Which statements aren’t aligning with what they’re really trying to tell me? How should I interpret their words and body language?

Suppose we want to break things down even further. In that case, one must understand that body language is usually a subconscious event, meaning that we rarely think about our body language. This happens because our brain’s primary focus is to string together words and phrases for verbal communication, which usually requires a higher level of processing. This doesn’t mean that body language will always tell the truth, but it does provide clues to help us weigh information, which can be pretty beneficial in the long run.

Actively interpreting body language can provide you with an edge in your communication skills. It can also be used as a tool to connect with the individual you are speaking to. This process is deeply ingrained into our human fabric and utilizes similar methods babies use while learning new skills from their parents’ traits during the early years of development.

Mirroring a person’s posture or stance can create a subtle bond, facilitating a sense of feeling like one another. This process is triggered via the activation of specific brain regions through the stimulation of specialized neurons called mirror neurons.[5] These particular neurons become activated while watching an individual engage in an activity or task, facilitating learning, queuing, and understanding. They also allow the person watching an action to become more efficient at physically executing the action, creating changes in the brain, and altering the overall structure of the brain to enhance output for that chosen activity.

Listening with intention can make you understand your colleague, and when paired together with mirroring body language, you can make your colleague feel like you two are alike. This simple trick can facilitate a greater bond of understanding and communication within all aspects of the conversation.

Eliminate All Distractions, Once and for All

As Jim Rohn says, “What is easy to do is also easy not to do.” And this is an underlying principle that will carry through in all aspects of communication. Distractions are a surefire way to ensure a lack of understanding or interpretation of a conversation, which in turn, will create inefficiencies and a poor foundation for communication.

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This should come as no surprise, especially in this day in age where people are constantly distracted by social media, text messaging, and endlessly checking their emails. We’re stuck in a cultural norm that has hijacked our love for the addictive dopamine rush and altered our ability to truly focus our efforts on the task at hand. And these distractions aren’t just distractions for the time they’re being used. They use up coveted brainpower and central processes that secondarily delay our ability to get back on track.

Gloria Mark, a researcher at UC Irvine, discovered that it takes an average of 23 minutes and 15 seconds for our brains to reach their peak state of focus after an interruption.[6] Yes, you read that correctly—distractions are costly, error-prone, and yield little to no benefit outside of a bump to the ego when receiving a new like on your social media profile.

Meetings should implement a no-phone policy, video conference calls should be set on their own browser with no other tabs open, and all updates, notifications, and email prompt should be immediately turned off, if possible, to eliminate all distractions during a meeting.

These are just a few examples of how we can optimize our environment to facilitate the highest levels of communication within the workplace.

Actions Speak Louder Than Words

Effective communication in the workplace doesn’t have to be challenging, but it does have to be intentional. Knowledge can only take us so far, but once again, knowing something is very different than putting it into action.

Just like riding a bike, the more often you do it, the easier it becomes. Master communicators are phenomenal listeners, which allows them to be effective communicators in the workplace and in life. If you genuinely want to own your communication, you must implement this information today and learn how to improve your listening skills.

Choose your words carefully, listen intently, and most of all, be present in the moment—because that’s what master communicators do, and you can do it, too!

More Tips Improving Listening Skills

Featured photo credit: Mailchimp via unsplash.com

Reference

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